Chest day isn’t just for men on Monday anymore, just like cardio isn’t just a “women’s routine.” This concept applies to all muscle groups and exercises. And while it’s no surprise that weight training is a game-changer for the female physique, there are common neglected muscle groups that often get left behind.

Chances are, if you’re neglecting to train a specific muscle group, you may end up experiencing muscular imbalances, weaknesses, or injuries. With that said, it’s time to give some much-needed attention to the muscles that haven’t seen a dumbbell in quite some time. Let’s Lift!

Why Women Put Chest, Back, and Shoulders on the Backburner

It’s no surprise that chest, back, and shoulders rank as the most commonly undertrained muscle groups by female gymgoers. Spot a guy performing pushups and pullups and no one bats an eye, but watch jaws drop when a female rep out unassisted pullups or knocks out a few bench press rounds. Why is that? One seasoned personal trainer feels social media plays into what muscle groups women focus on most.

“There is a lot of focus geared towards women, in the media, social media in particular, on working your core, strengthening your lower body, and making sure that you get in your cardio,” says Alyssa Pannozzi, certified personal trainer and instructor at Rev’d Indoor Cycling in Boston. Putting forth the message that certain exercises are more so designated for the female crowd. Sure, a strong lower body and a stable core are goals, but neglecting to train your entire body is a disastrous recipe for areas of weakness and imbalances.

Beyond the media’s influence, the fear of bulking up certain areas also comes into play. Take shoulders for example. “Women often tend to neglect strength training their shoulders because they are under the impression that building strong shoulders will produce a bulkier look; this couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Pannozzi. Although every body type is completely different, and how you train is going to affect the way that your muscles grow, women simply don’t have the hormones and muscles fibers to add the manly bulk they fear.

The Importance of a Well-Rounded Physique: Leave No Muscle Behind

A well-rounded workout routine equals a well-rounded physique. And with that comes many benefits, both in aesthetic symmetry and muscular and joint health. “Training the upper body is just as important as training the lower body, and cardio is such as important as strength training,” says Pannozzi. There needs to be a consistent balance in your exercise regimen. A routine that leaves no muscle behind is the best way to strengthen major and minor muscle groups, ligaments, and bones while having the ability to build the physique you desire. It’s a win-win for the weightlifter.

Strengthen Those Neglected Muscle Groups

When incorporating a new fitness routine, always start slow and light. Never miss a warmup, and give your newly-trained muscles appropriate rest days.

Pannozzi’s biggest piece of advice when it comes to training as a whole is to pick the exercises that work for you and your schedule. “If you don’t like what you are doing, you are less likely to do it,” she says. This is a helpful tip when starting a new training routine for muscles that may need some TLC.

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